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Goldman Sachs, Shell 'Named and Shamed' in Public Eye 'Award'

Public Eye Shame Awards announced outside World Economic Forum in Davos

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

As leaders from the world's top banks and corporations continue to meet this week at the World Economic Forum, protesters also gathered in Davos to announce this year's Public Eye "Shame Awards." And the winners are...Goldman Sachs and Shell.

A policeman stands guard on the roof of the Congress Hotel during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 on January 23, 2013 at the Swiss resort of Davos. (Agence France-Presse) The 'honors,' awarded to the two WEF member corporations "for particularly glaring cases of companies' greed for profit and environmental sins," were announced at the annual award ceremony hosted by campaign groups Greenpeace (Switzerland) and the Berne Declaration.

The ceremony was held "within eyeshot" of the WEF summit—a place "where the rich and powerful will ponder the planet's future."

Goldman Sachs "is a key player in financially driven globalization, which pays for profits of a few with exploding inequality and the impoverishment of broad strata," the groups said in a joint statement.

"Shell has invested $4.5 billion into a senseless, highly risky plan and only produced problems. The Public Eye Award vote shows that the public keeps an eye on Shell and that its pig-headedness will continue to be sanctioned by public opinion," Greenpeace International director and Shame Award jury member Kumi Naidoo stated.

Professor William K. Black, economist and former banking regulator and speaker at the award ceremony, added:

The central point that I want to stress as a white-collar criminologist and effective financial regulator is that Goldman Sachs is not a singular 'rotten apple' in a healthy bushel of banks. Goldman Sachs is the norm for systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) (the so-called 'too big to fail' banks).

Goldman Sachs was given the Public Eye jury prize.

Shell was chosen by online voters for the "public award" by a large margin among 41,800 online voters.

On Shell's recent escapades in the Arctic, the groups added:

[Shell] is out in front in the highly risky search for fossil fuels in the fragile Arctic. This has been made possible by climate change and the disappearance of the Arctic ice cap, to which Shell has contributed. Every Arctic offshore oil project means new CO2 emissions. The Arctic's oil reserves are enough for just three years. For this, Shell is jeopardizing one of the Earth's last natural paradises and endangering the living space of four million people, as well as unique fauna. In recent months, this corporation has gone through an alarming series of mishaps in the region, and it has not even started on the oil wells yet.

Shell and Goldman will now join their predecessors in the Hall of Shame, which already includes past winners Barclays, Glencore, Citigoup, Walt Disney, Dow, and Walmart, among others.